Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Fever!!

We have had a stretch of glorious weather- in the low 70's, sunny- the kind of weather that makes even adults want to play hooky, especially when we're all glad to see the end of winter.

Shannon and I took Sadie and Dieter for a hike up Spanish Fork Canyon- not as picturesque as Provo Canyon, but closer to home. We got both dogs worn out pretty quickly- Sadie from chasing her ball, and Dieter from chasing Sadie. Since I had someone else to man the camera, here I am with the dogs for a change!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this disintegrating sandstone- makes it very easy to see how it got its name. Lovely layers and texture--

Our view off to the side looking up the mountains was beautiful. The grass is starting to show, and some of the sage is greening up.

Off on the river side was a very old car graveyard. I didn't go exploring this time, but made a mental note in case I ever want to try rust dyeing- lots of rusty metal down there!

I've also been creating this weekend. I decided to get out my Caran d'Ache neocolor water soluble wax pastels. I want to create a flower quilt for my daughter-in-law, and at least one flower on it will be the bird of paradise. Don't have any easily accessible here to look at (although I have ordered one from a nursery), but I downloaded some pictures from the web, and used them as a basis for drawings. I chose two, and then did some cropped closeups as postcards. Here's the results of the first three:

I learned what gives the best results with the wax pastels, and was very happy with all the flowers. I'm not so happy with all the background quilting I did- the thread is too dark on one, and I think detracts from the flower. So, next time I'll use monofilament for the background. And, I think I'll try my Tsukineko inks to see how they compare with the wax pastels. I should be able to complete three more this week, so I'll have my April Art2Mail cards done before my eye surgery April 3. Not Lasix, but cataract surgery-

All in all, a nice weekend. Too bad it's supposed to snow here on Wednesday!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Well, I tried

to get this posted earlier in the week- but "new" Blogger wouldn't cooperate, I couldn't even sign in. Tried to comment on a couple of blogs, and couldn't do that either. Here's hoping the issues are taken care of and I get my pictures posted without problems.

I've finished and sent off my third group of postcards. I had no brilliant ideas for this month- I ended up choosing some of my hand-dyes, and going from there. I've noticed that when I'm feeling uninspired, I end up with something simple- no bling, nothing but beautiful fabric and thread. I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't my "voice" trying to assert herself. . .

Anyway, I chose these because the colors reminded me of what we see here this time of year- the brown of winter, but sparks of green beginning to show. I was simply playing with line and shape, seeing what developed. I quite like working in these small series- none are identical, but they have similarities. I also tried quilting with polyester monofilament thread, something I don't use often. I hope the recipients are happy with their cards!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

It feels

like forever since I last posted-I haven't usually gone more than a week. I have been working on the red, black, and white UFO I mentioned in my last post. I got all 27 blocks done, then managed to screw up the size when I was squaring up one. So, now I have 18 in one size, and 9 slightly shorter (but same width) blocks. I hadn't a clue what I would do with them- and then a co-worker gave her notice, she's leaving for greener and less stressful pastures. So, this week I took 3 blocks and made them into a small wall hanging. I think she'll like it.

Since I had 1 block a slightly different size, I decided to make the hanging wonky. I added an extra border to the smaller block, put different lower borders on all three. And since I didn't want to mess with inset corners and binding, I used Melody Johnson's escape hatch technique. It was easy, and I quite like the results.

I came up with my own quilting patterns, most of which I think turned out very well. I used red, black, and white thread- sometimes, I had a hard time seeing where I'd been while I was quilting! Got some good ideas for backing fabrics for future projects- mostly, the busy calicoes I quit buying years ago. Here's a look at the quilting:

I particularly like the 'spiral vine' I used to quilt around the hearts.

Not much else going on. No offers on the house, but the market is just starting to pick up after winter. We're managing to keep it clean, just in case we get a call that someone wants to look at it. At this point, I'm rather hoping we don't get an offer for another month or so. I've just scheduled cataract surgery for my left eye, that happens April 2. Even though it's a relatively simply procedure, it would render me useless for packing for a week or so.

I can't wait to see the difference after the surgery. My left eye is extremely nearsighted- to the point that I joke with the doctor about being able to see the chart on the wall, forget the letters on it. And the nearsightedness has gotten significantly worse, which the docs say is how my cataract is making its presence known. Post surgery, I should have similar vision in both eyes- slightly nearsighted. I'm younger than most cataract patients- but, I'm grateful to be living in an era when the technology to deal with these medical issues is so advanced. I'll probably experience more anxiety as the day gets closer- you'll hear about that!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Someone on the QA list posted this test- which I found very interesting, and promptly asked my daughter and son to complete also. It came as no surprise to me that I am (ta da!!)

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

That would explain why I often feel like I am trying to learn a new language (visual), that doesn't always come easily.

We had our last drawing class on Saturday, and there was a "showcase" from all the classes Saturday night. The drawing, painting, and lettering classes all had student work displayed, the theatre group did scenes from three different plays, some of the songwriting students performed their compositions, and we heard bluegrass music from two classes. A fun, interesting evening. Yes, often a lot like amateur night- but I am so glad that Spanish Fork is supporting art education for adults. With the good turnout we had, they are planning another series of classes in the fall. I think I'll take watercolor painting- I think it would help me with my dye painting. Seeing some of the paintings on display was also motivational- most were very good.

I also feel like I have a chance to get to know someone in the arts community. The woman who taught my drawing class has a gallery in town, and I showed her some of my small fiber works. She was interested, asked questions. I think if I can develop a larger body of work, in sizes bigger than the journal quilts, I will approach her about showing them. And, they are expanding the gallery to include space for lessons. She knows I dye and paint fabric, and teaching that might be a possibility. Too cool!

I've already posted the drawing I did of my daughter Shannon. Funny how you see things in a photograph that you don't always see in the actual object. I saw things I wanted to fix, and I did on Saturday, before the show. I fixed the too-dark shadow over her left eye, and complete re-did the nose so it doesn't look like she has a gargantuan upper lip. I like the finished result much better. I've now got it mounted on an 11X14 board, so I can actually frame it. Scary, framing a drawing I did! But, here's the new and improved drawing:

Here's some of the other work. The large painting is by one of the teachers, the others are student work. We actually had a lot more work displayed, I was taking my pictures early in the set-up.

I am sewing again, although it is on a (horrors!!) pattern quilt that I cut out 3-4 years ago and never got any further. It's in my favorite colorway, red, white, and black- and it feels good to be working with fabric again. I'll end up with 27 blocks, which I think I'll turn into several small wallhangings. Pictures maybe later!